Left-Hander in London

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There are three kinds of people in the world -
People that like Milk Chocolate.
People that like Dark Chocolate.
People that don’t care for chocolate.
(And I’ve heard there are people who like both dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Weird?)
I am not even going to talk about white chocolate. Is white chocolate really chocolate?
Which is better? Which is normal? Which group makes your blood boil? Should we be wary of people that in our view are clearly wrong?

Or consider this:
Some people like hot weather. The hotter it is, the better they like it. They enjoy sitting in the sun, soaking up the rays. They revel in building up a good sweat. They often feel like they are freezing when the weather turns cold in the fall and winter.
Other people like it cool. Anything over 75 or 80 degrees feels stifling to them. They may avoid going outside in the summertime just to sit in the air conditioning. They frequently wear shorts and a sweatshirt when the weather is only 30 or 40 degrees outside.
Which is better? Which is more correct? Is one right? Is another wrong? For most of us, depending on which group we are in, we may not comprehend how anyone can be in the other group. We might say, “How can anyone tolerate this heat?” Or if we are in the “hot” group, we might say, “Put on a coat. Aren’t you freezing?”
What about left-handers and right-handers? Whites and Blacks? Locals and foreigners? LGBT people and straights? Believers and non-believers? To me, it doesn’t matter where our differences come from. There might be genetic factors. It might be racial. It could be ethnic. Culture and circumstances might influence.

Whether you are white or black or gay or straight you’re not making a choice - you are who you are. It’s not a preference, it’s just a part of who you are. Similarly, though, you don’t choose what you like or what tastes good. You don’t choose that you feel hot or cold. In any case, whether it is the way it is, or whether you choose, you can enjoy and appreciate people that are different from you.

Consider gamers. I have no interest, but I get excited when GenCon comes to Indy every year. I even went down there once to see what it was. People were in costumes and there were tables and tables in giant halls of people playing games. I enjoyed that they were so excited. I still don’t understand why they like it so much, but I appreciate that they do!

My contention is that in these and many other examples, neither side is necessarily right or wrong, or more or less correct. We might be on one side or the other, but we don’t need to choose sides, or judge a person that seems to be opposite of how you feel. Or who you are. You’re straight, that person is gay - it’s just who you are. Sometimes people argue whether someone is the way they are because they were born that way, or did they choose to be that way?
Does it really matter? Do we need to analyze the source of every human trait or condition? You may not understand, but rather than judge or criticize people that are different from you, you might try to accept them the way they are.

If I had to summarize my message, I would explain it this way:
You don’t need to understand why someone is different from you. Differences may not necessarily make someone better or worse than another person. If we try to accept people as they are, we might be more comfortable in our relationships.
Let me be clear. I am talking about differences between people. I am not advocating accepting people that hurt children, perpetrate violence, or harm others.. We don’t need to condone or accept people that hate. I means accept that we are different and find good in those differences.
If we Enjoy Diversity - find good in the differences  rather than merely accepting, tolerating, or judging, we might improve how we interact with others. Enjoying Diversity does not mean that we like or agree with everything related to another person. It just means that we are trying to find good, to find value in others. And usually, it is more fun.

You’ve arrived at Left Hander in London by JJ Marie Gufreda. It’s a book, it’s a play, it’s a cabaret. It’s speaking. It’s music. It’s consulting. It’s educating. It’s learning to Enjoy Diversity.

This is my space to connect with you, and to share my story and experiences. Why? Because I’ve taken risks, hit some bumps and encountered problems to live my truth, and I would like to share what I learned with you. Hopefully, you can use my experiences, shared with a bit of humor and fun, to improve some of your relationships and make you more comfortable working and living with other people.

I hope you’ll stick around and explore my story. It might take you by surprise. You might learn something. My hope is that you’ll also find connections to your own life that you may not have been expecting. You might be interested to hear how others responded to me when I told them that I was changing gender. Some were incredibly loving and supportive. Others, not so much. It is disappointing and disheartening when I found out that lengthy relationships could end in a moment when people found out who I truly was.

So, yes, let’s get this out of the way: I’m trans. But my story isn’t exclusively a “transgender” story. This is a story about family, friends, spirituality, society, relationships, business, and working with others.  Have you ever really thought about what it would be like to change your life completely? What would people say? How would they treat you? Would it matter? Would you care? What if it was your church? Your family? Your clients? Would you be able to keep your job? What would it take for you to make such a huge change, what kind of internal force? How would the change affect your relationships?

This is about people. This is not about laws. This is not about policy. This is not specifically about being transgender. This is about people and how we interact and react to each other. As I say in my song, “It’s Up To Us,” It’s up to us - there’s no one here but us!

Here is the video with me singing with two of my grandkids. They added the percussion:


This is Frankie doing the chorus - just for fun:


Here is one of my songs - “I Am So Happy, I Don’t Have The Blues.”: